As I discovered this weekend, making butter is actually about one of the simplest things you could ever undertake in the kitchen. Not to mention, it is also a very good way to impress guests, who will likely have no idea exactly how simple it is.
Part of the goal of these DIY kitchen posts is to share with you how easy it is to make many of the basic items you buy at the store. As a thrifty gal, part of the attraction of things like making my own bread or ricotta is also cost effectiveness.
That said some things are certainly more rewarding and cost effective than others. For example, for about $2 for half a gallon of milk you can make about four times that luscious ricotta from Salvatore Bklyn that sells for $8 a pop. And it’s equally good. On the other hand, while homemade goat cheese is will certainly save you a few bucks, goat milk can run you as much as $8 per half gallon, depending on your source. Not quite as wallet-friendly.
With that in mind, starting today I’ll also be posting a cost breakdown of store-bought versus homemade products.
Homemade butter vs. store bought:
For about $4.68 I ended up with about half a quart of butter and half a quart of butter (11 ounces) and half a quart of buttermilk. At my local supermarket, Land O’Lake butter was 42 cents an ounce, of $4.62 for 11 ounces. Buttermilk was $1.15 for a half a gallon. So, yes, you’re only saving a few bucks, but you’re also getting much better butter without all the ingredients you can’t pronounce.
I undertook this project via two different methods – shaking it in a jar and using an electric mixer.
Method #1: The Jar
Amazingly, you really can make butter by pouring some heavy cream in a jar and shaking it until you have butter. However, this will consist of about 10-15 minutes of constant shaking and your arm will get tired. Very tired.
If you choose this method, be sure to not fill the jar more than one third full of cream. The air hear is what helps it develop into butter. Keep shaking as you go from cream to whipped cream to very heavy whipped cream. At this point, you’ll feel like it’s not even moving around in the jar, but keep shaking. All of the sudden, at that one magical moment, the butter will separate from the buttermilk. And you’ll have homemade butter. Pour the buttermilk in a jar for later use and run the butter under cold water in a strainer and knead to help release the rest of the buttermilk. You want as much of the buttermilk out as possible, otherwise your butter may spoil quickly.
Throw in some salt or herbs if you like. And there you have it – butter.
Method #2: The Electric Mixer
This is probably the most practical solution, unless you really want a workout or have a ridiculous amount of energy to burn. Pour your heavy cream into the bowl of a mixer and mix on high. Again, you’ll have whipped cream and then really heavy whipped cream but you want to keep going. Eventually, after about 10 minutes of mixing, the butter will release the buttermilk, and you’ll have butter.
As with the first method, pour the buttermilk in a jar for later use. Then run the butter under cold water in a strainer and knead to help release the rest of the buttermilk. Add salt, herbs, or whatever else you’re feelin’.
Eat on absolutely everything and don’t worry about the calories.